5 Simple Rules for Protecting Your Ideas from Elon Musk and Steve Jobs

Elif Özçakmak

Elif Özçakmak

İTÜ - İşletme Mühendisliği | Editör @ceotudent

How did Steve Jobs manage to create that simple and elegant design without filling it with unnecessary features?
How did Elon Musk ingeniously create innovative products without diminishing their value?
In fact, it all boils down to not letting “developments” ruin their vision.
Genius is fragile. Especially creative genius! Great ideas can die every step of the way. The brighter the idea, the more you need to protect it. There are 3 deadly dangers to your ideas:

a) Dilute the essence of the idea:
This one kills your mind slowly, painfully. This means that the features that make your idea unique, even if it may seem innocent at first, are gradually cut out. There is a phrase in advertising that describes this as “duck pecking”. Ideas are not always openly rejected, they are “developed” with endless small changes. What used to be a great idea turns into a shivering jelly. This happens when decision makers make a series of small but deadly changes as a result of worrying and wanting to reassure themselves.
Elon Musk explains the difficulty of producing technology that will change the world:

“People are wrong when they think technology evolves automatically on its own. Technology doesn’t evolve on its own. When a lot of people work hard at making it better, it does, and will improve. In fact, I think if left on its own, it will break down.”


b) Equipping the idea with unnecessary features:
More does not mean better. Compared to Apple’s elegant and simple design, Microsoft is over-developing its products, making it complex by adding many features; so the product becomes overwhelming and chaotic.
Here’s how Jobs describes his approach to product development:

“When you first start solving a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex and most people stop at that point. But if you keep going, live with the problem and peel off the onion more and more, you will often come up with very elegant and simple solutions.”


c) Bringing together two or three ideas:
They call this last one “Frankenstein”. If two or three ideas are mixed together, the results will not be good. If you try to be everything to everyone, you can be nothing to anyone.

How can you protect your ideas like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs? Here are the 5 steps you need to follow:

1) Avoid the committee mentality

Forget about bringing your ideas to life in institutions or environments where your ideas need to be discussed in order for them to come true. Especially in intrapreneurship, the policies of some big companies may contradict your ideas or people may not think as you think, they may not see what you see.
Here, it is useful to remember the words of Steve Jobs:

“Designing products for target groups is really difficult. Often people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”.

If you are confident and say that you will take risks, focus on how ideas that are considered good are approved in the environment where you will present your ideas. Review the approval process.


2) Reject unnecessary ideas

Great ideas are fragile because they can be easily simplified and broken. How will you protect your ideas? People can persuade you with their referrals and deviate you from your original idea. Have faith in your opinion and people protect it.


3) Good ideas are the enemy of great ideas

Examining a truly innovative idea requires fierce, ruthless, even irrational dedication. Sometimes, at the end of these processes, ideas become weak and ordinary with small changes. It can make you suddenly forget the big fish and look at the small fish in front of you.
Let go of the temptations to seize the good. Keep chasing the big one.


4) Avoid repeating the same things over and over

What was once fascinating may later become mundane.
Crayola, a crayon company, started an online contest in 1993 to name a new color they found. 2 million entries were entered, but since they did not change the format, participation in similar competitions decreased to 25,000 entries in the 2000s. Now nobody cares.
Some ideas take years to be realized. But they may be old and dusty now.


5) Make a mistake

Setbacks are inherent in the innovation process. Learn and improve from each of these.
Jobs said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to quickly admit mistakes and keep improving other innovations.” he said.
Musk agrees: “There’s a silly notion at NASA that failure isn’t an option. Making mistakes is an option here. If you’re not failing at something, you’re not innovative enough.”


The bigger the idea, the more revolutionary, the greater the chance of dying a painful death along the way.
Being afraid and compromising your principles can frustrate your efforts to create a great job.
So how do YOU protect your biggest and bravest ideas?

Yorumlar (0) Add Comment

/